How does a lawyer prove medical malpractice?

Updated on July 17, 2021

Medical malpractice is traumatic for anyone. We trust our medical professionals with our lives. However, the outcome is sometimes not a positive one.

If you or someone you love is a victim of medical malpractice, contacting an attorney specializing in medical malpractice is your best plan of action. You have no reason to go through this process alone. Lawyers will help lessen your load while using their expert knowledge for the best possible outcome.

What is medical malpractice?

The first thing to understand is what medical malpractice means. It occurs when a doctor or other medical professional does harm by failing to perform their duties competently.

One of the reasons why an expert attorney is vital is because malpractice laws and rules vary from state to state. However, the same broad concepts and general principles typically apply. 

Types of Damages in a Medical Malpractice Claim

In the case of malpractice, you have the right to seek monetary awards for more than just your medical bills.

Other types of damages include:

  • The loss of income or other wages
  • The loss of enjoyment or reduced quality of life
  • Future medical bills or expenses (physical rehabilitation, at-home nurse, etc.)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Long-term disability
  • Mental and emotional anguish
  • Other non-economic damages

Your medical malpractice attorney, with the help of experts, will evaluate what you are eligible for. However, we know that it is about more than simply compensation. You deserve justice and to know that it will not happen to someone else.

What Must Be Proven

While every state has different mandates for malpractice cases, they all have the same legal elements. 

  • You must prove that there was an established doctor-patient relationship such as agreement or received treatments.
  • An established duty or standard of care that is accepted by the medical community.
  • You or your attorney must prove that there was a breach in the duty of care. 
  • The injury must be a direct result of a breach of care. 
  • The injury must have caused damages such as medical expenses, pain, and suffering, loss of wages, or other effects.

Consultation with a medical malpractice attorney will help ensure these standards are met while you concentrate on recovering.

Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice

Injuries or death caused by medical malpractice are catastrophic and should not be common at all. However, it happens far more than it should. The most common type of medical malpractice include:

When a medical professional fails to make an accurate and timely diagnosis, they become subject to a possible medical malpractice claim. It means that if a different diagnosis would have led to a better outcome, their patient might have a right to pursue compensation.

Improper treatment happens for a variety of reasons. However, if a doctor treats a patient in a way that no other competent medical professional would, that patient could be eligible to make a malpractice claim. Even if they chose the right treatment, administering it incompetently is improper care.

It is a doctor’s duty to inform and warn their patients of the risks associated with procedures and treatments. The failure to do so puts them at risk for a malpractice claim. It is your choice to go through with any recommended treatment.

Special Requirements in a Medical Malpractice Case

Medical malpractice cases can get complicated. It is why having a specialized attorney is the best way towards a positive outcome. Regardless of the state you’re in, you have the same basic requirements.

You only have a small window to file a medical malpractice claim. Depending on the state, it could be six months up to two years. The quicker you pursue compensation, the better. If you file it after the statute of limitations, a judge will toss it out. Your attorney will also know when the clock started on the negligent act. It could be at the time of the injury or when you discovered it.

Experts are the only way to prove medical malpractice. Attorneys have a network that a patient just does not have. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Such as medical equipment left inside of a patient. However, most cases are not quite that cut and dry.

Finally, many states put limits on damage awards. Your lawyer will know what those caps are and will vigorously pursue the max compensation.

How Does a Lawyer Prove Medical Malpractice?

Expert medical malpractice attorneys understand state laws and know how to get to the best outcome possible. You have little recourse when pursuing this type of case on your own.

Expert Witnesses

As mentioned, expert witnesses are generally a requirement in medical malpractice suits. Surgical mistakes are often easier to prove but having a medical doctor on your side is never bad. 

Furthermore, sometimes more than one medical professional’s testimony is ideal because multiple specialties a part of the claim. For example, if a medical emergency involved the ER and then a cardiologist, a medical professional in both fields is the way to go.

It is not easy for doctors and medical personnel to testify against others in their field. However, your attorney has a network of experts who want the best for all patients and help you claim medical malpractice.

Hospital Records and Depositions

The strongest medical malpractice cases have all of the information available. It means that along with experts, hospital records and deposition from those involved go a long way to proving your case. Electronic medical records are a wonderful tool because they are harder to alter and include the doctor’s notes compared to the outcome.

Your attorney can even use Health Insurance Portability, and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requests to get your complete medical records. It is not an easy process, and you will want the help of an expert medical malpractice lawyer.

Depositions and all medical records are the most efficient way to show the lack of communication between medical professionals and prove an error in diagnosing.

Your Right to Clear and Accurate Answers

Even if you aren’t sure, you can prove medical practice, attorney consultations are generally free, and they can’t make the situation worse. You and your family member have rights and deserve compensation from those you trusted most – your doctors and other medical professionals.

Medical malpractice law is complicated and varies depending on the jurisdiction. An attorney can walk you through the process and explain how they plan to prove it. You have a right to get clear and accurate answers to why medical malpractice happened, and how to stop it from happening to someone else. 

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.